Why We Still Need John Stott’s Classic Book on the Holy Spirit

Oct 11, 2021 by

by Michael Horton, TGC:

Few conference talks have flowered so richly into an evangelical classic as John Stott’s Baptism and Fullness: The Work of the Holy Spirit Today. Published in 1964, this book appeared just before the explosive growth of the charismatic movement in mainline churches. With the second edition in 1975, slightly revised yet unchanged in its basic orientation, the book found its way onto the essential reading lists for those on both sides of the debates concerning the work of the Spirit.

What accounts for its enduring popularity? After all, Baptism and Fullness is a rather small book. I would like to offer a few suggestions for why it has been such a profound resource, since a mere commendation for someone like Stott from someone like me seems a little pretentious.

“The Christian life is life in the Spirit,” John Stott writes. “It would be impossible to be a Christian, let alone to live and grow as a Christian, without the ministry of the gracious Spirit of God. All we have and are as Christians we owe to him.” The Holy Spirit continues to be at work around the world, as numerous renewal movements attest. Yet much confusion and controversy remain regarding the Holy Spirit’s activity. In this classic study, John Stott provides clear biblical exposition on the promise, the fruit, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He offers particular guidance on the nature of “the baptism of the Spirit” and whether certain spiritual gifts and experiences should be normative for all Christians. Always irenic and gracious, Stott points the way to both greater biblical understanding and deeper fullness of spiritual life.

Breathing Scripture

First, everything that John Stott writes exhales the Scriptures that one can easily discern have been deeply inhaled as the atmosphere of the author’s daily walk with Christ as well as academic study. While doing my doctoral studies at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, I came into daily contact with a new generation of Anglican evangelicals who were Stott’s spiritual children. And, as they say over there, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I found myself challenged by their zeal for personal Bible study and prayer, which yielded a passionate and informed evangelistic witness. Our conversations turned on passages of Scripture, not simply on “relevant” topics, and when the latter came up, appeals quickly went to the biblical text.

Read here

See also:

JOHN STOTT: A Summary of his Teaching, By Ted Schroder, Reviewed by David W. Virtue:



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